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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Working with a Web Design Firm: Tips for Larger Nonprofits

As 2021 comes to a close, many nonprofits have started thinking about their priorities and plans for the upcoming year. You might be assessing where your organization currently stands in regards to its challenges, strengths, and opportunities. One of your priorities may be revamping or improving your organization’s digital presence.

Many large organizations with sizable budgets choose to outsource their website design tasks. This offers many benefits, such as access to expert advice and an impartial, third-party assessment. If you think your organization could benefit from these services, take the time to find the right consultant and create a productive working relationship with them. 

Let’s review some top tips for working with a web design firm and making the collaboration a success. 

Identify your goals.

Determine what you’re hoping to get out of your collaboration with a web design consultant. For example, are you hoping to achieve a full digital transformation? The definition of a digital transformation is different for every organization. For your nonprofit, this could include a full website redesign or build, a technology assessment, an online fundraising strategy revamp, or a new marketing approach. 

Or, do you have specific pain points in certain areas, such as online fundraising or digital donor outreach? Or maybe you’re hoping to expand into new territories, such as mobile fundraising

Sit down with your team to identify your priorities and outline a rough plan of how you think a consultant can help. This ensures that once you find a web design partner, you won’t waste any time figuring out what you’d like them to focus on. 

Find a consultant who fits with your organization’s culture.

Many nonprofit web design firms will not only set you up with a digital strategy, but also stick with your team to see your project through to full completion. They’ll work with you on an ongoing basis, basically as another member of your staff. Therefore, you want to ensure they’re a good culture fit for your organization.

As you search for a partner, ask detailed questions about their approach. Do they fully understand your digital goals? Does their approach to online fundraising align with your organization’s priorities? Do they have experience working with other large nonprofits? 

Ultimately, you should find a consulting firm that emphasizes building trust over earning their cut. The best nonprofit technology consultants prioritize learning everything they can about your sector, audience, and goals to make the most accurate recommendations. 

Maintain a steady stream of communication.

It’s important to build a relationship with your web design firm that’s based on mutual trust. You should trust in the consultant’s recommendations since you’ve hired them specifically for their expertise. But you should also be comfortable enough with them to ask questions and bring up concerns. 

If you’re unclear on your consultant’s work or recommendations, speak up sooner rather than later. You’ll be able to get your concerns addressed and ensure you can maintain your website on your own for the long term after the initial consultation. 

As a large nonprofit, your website’s development, design, and maintenance concerns will differ dramatically from those of small or mid-sized organizations. There are plenty of nonprofit website design companies that specialize in the concerns of larger organizations. It’s important to research your options and find a firm that meshes well with your organization and understands its unique mission and goals. Then, by intentionally strengthening your ongoing consultant relationship, you can make the most of your investment. Good luck!

Written by Anne Stefanyk, Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, a web agency focused on data-informed and human-centric solutions. Connect with Anne on LinkedIn.

1 comment:

Jann Mirchandani said...

Great advice! Every agency has its own magic sauce; find the one that's right for you.

The only point I would add is, don't expect the agency will be able to do it without you! You will need to be an active part of the process to some degree. Make sure that you are clear about what level of engagement will be expected from YOUR organization.